UK Politics

At-a-glance: Armed Forces cuts

The Armed Forces are announcing their first wave of job losses as part of plans to reduce numbers of serving personnel by 22,000 by 2015.

The government says the move - first announced in October - is necessary to reduce defence costs and equip the military better for future threats and challenges.

Here is a summary of what is happening.


  • Some air force bases will close and 5,000 RAF personnel will lose their jobs over the next five years
  • The Harrier jump jet and Nimrod reconnaissance planes will be scrapped
  • Some squadrons of Tornado jets will be saved, but the Joint Strike Fighter and a modernised Eurofighter will form the basis of the RAF fire power and there will be extra money for unmanned planes
  • The air transport fleet will be upgraded with A400M and A330 aircraft, replacing the Tristar and VC-10 from 2013
  • Extra 12 Chinook helicopters to increase flexibility


  • The Army will have to cut up to 12,000 personnel, an increase on the 7,000 originally announced in October
  • 40% of tanks and 35% of heavy artillery will be scrapped. One deployable brigade out of six will be lost


  • The navy will lose 5,000 personnel, taking numbers down to 30,000
  • It will get a new fleet of Astute-class nuclear-powered submarines
  • Its surface fleet will be cut from 23 to 19
  • The Ark Royal, launched in 1985, has been decommissioned
  • The construction of two new aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, will go ahead. But one of them will be mothballed rather than entering service


  • The government says £750m ($1.2bn) will be saved over four years on the Trident nuclear deterrent missile system by cutting the number of warheads on each submarine from 48 to 40 and reducing the number of missile tubes from 12 to eight
  • Nuclear warhead stockpiles will be cut from 160 to less than 120
  • The final "main gate" spending decision on Trident will also be delayed until 2016 - after the next general election


  • The Ministry of Defence will lose 25,000 civilian staff by 2015
  • It will also have to renegotiate contracts with industry and sell-off "unnecessary" buildings and assets

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